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Essential Skills in the Workplace: How the team at Skills Builder use the essential skills day-to-day
October 7, 2020

To celebrate National Skills Day on October 7th 2020, the team here at Skills Builder are sharing how they use the eight essential skills at work and why they are important in their roles. 

We know that highly transferable skills are essential in education and the world of work: 

  • Nesta’s Future Skills work in 2017 highlighted that the skills that would support a long and prosperous life in the future were those that could not be automated.
  • The Careers & Enterprise Company recently commissioned a survey of 250 medium and large business leaders looking at the #FutureOfWork after 2020. Business leaders were asked what they thought would be important in improving young people’s employment prospects in the post-Covid jobs market. Over 90% said that essential employability skills such as listening, problem solving, creativity, leadership and teamwork will be important - 60% said very important.
  • Just last week, we launched a report with the Centre for Education and Youth looking at the influence of essential skills on life outcomes. They found that there is evidence that essential skills, like listening, staying positive and teamwork, can support young people's academic outcomes too.

Read on to meet our team and find out more about how they use the essential skills at work. 


Meet Sarah, Head of Product

Sarah leads the Product team at the Skills Builder Partnership, working to ensure that everyone has access to tools and resources that build essential skills. This includes managing our flagship digital product: the Skills Builder Hub. She is passionate about creating an engaging and intuitive experience for learners, educators and employers. Prior to joining the Skills Builder Partnership, Sarah worked in Primary schools across London and Warwickshire.  

"Aiming High is an essential skill in my role because I develop long-term strategies and road maps, ensuring that our products meet the growing needs of our partners. I also create operational plans to ensure that projects are completed on time and to a high standard. This builds ownership across the team, as individuals take on different workstreams."

Meet Elnaz, Head of Research and Impact

Dr Elnaz Kashefpakdel is a trained quantitative analyst, completed her PhD from the University of Bath for a study on higher education policy. Elnaz has co-authored a wide range of research studies on employer engagement in education and school to work transitions including peer-reviewed academic articles, book chapters and international conference papers.

"As part of my role I have to listen critically to many different perspectives on an issue and compare them. Listening skills are extremely important for me as a researcher as I can expand my knowledge and understanding of a wide range of topics and to use the key points in taking actions. This is particularly defined well in Step 11 of Skills Builder Universal Framework with very useful resources about how to build this skill."

Meet Judith, Senior Education Associate

Judith joined the Skills Builder Partnership in 2019 and supports schools and colleges in Yorkshire and Humber to build their students’ essential skills. Judith has extensive experience of primary and secondary schools, state and independent, day and boarding, in addition to her ten years as a Chartered Accountant. Whilst she loves introducing students to the business world, her enjoyment comes from supporting a Headteacher and their Senior Management to execute a strategic programme to embed essential skills into their curriculum.

“During my career, I have led several teams and have worked hard to improve my Leadership skills at every opportunity. With any new team, I spend time getting to know each member individually and understanding what really motivates and excites them. I can then use their strengths and interests to ensure they are allocated a role or task which motivates and inspires them. Supporting and coaching new members of my team is always worthwhile, reaps its rewards and is thoroughly enjoyable”.

Meet Simon, Communications & Design Associate

Simon joined the Skills Builder Partnership in 2017, after working in Primary education for two years. As a graduate of Philosophy, he is keen to help the next generation hone the essential skills they will need to become ever more capable, empathetic and self-fulfilled. Leveraging his skills from web design to motion graphics, Simon works on our communications and design, making sure that our branding, website and print all reflect the brilliant work of our schools, employers and other partners.

"Every day I'm working with team members across the organisation to complete projects - and so I'm constantly working to improve my Teamwork skills! These are especially helpful when I'm collaborating with someone else to bring their vision to life: I need to make sure I stay on time and reliable, actively recognise the value of diverse ideas, and evaluate successes and areas for improvement when the project's over."


Meet Evelyn, Education Network Manager

Evelyn manages our Education Network and leads on engaging new schools and colleges with our approach nationally. This involves working closely with the Education Managers in the different regions to get Accelerator and Digital Membership programmes up and running across the country. She is also really passionate about developing effective and efficient systems that our Education Teams use to deliver impact each and every day. Before joining Skills Builder, Evelyn was a Science teacher in the North East of England. 

“I often find myself applying my Creativity skills because I am responsible for developing our national marketing strategy for the education programmes. Whether I am designing brochures, planning presentations or writing up success stories I need to take lots of different perspectives into account and generate ideas linked closely to a brief.”

Meet Amy, Education Associate

After university, Amy trained as a primary school teacher through the Teach First programme. Working in Key Stage 2 for 4 years before becoming SENCo in 2017. Amy joined the Skills Builder Partnership in 2019, excited by the opportunity to support schools and colleges to embed skill-based learning into their curriculum. Amy now works across London and the South East with supporting teachers to build pupils’ essential skills. Amy also leads on the development of the online-only programme for schools called Digital Membership, which provides access to premium resources to a wider network of schools across the country. 

“As an Education Associate, I use Speaking skills every day to provide information and training around the essential skills to schools and colleges. Currently our training has moved online, where it is all the more important that I can speak clearly, effectively and adaptively to ensure we maintain high quality training in this new, remote format."

Meet Charlotte, Education Associate

Charlotte joined the teaching profession in 2013, having spent a year in Brussels, working in the Directorate General for Education at the European Commission. Charlotte trained with Teach First as a languages teacher and then later became Assistant Principal in Middlesbrough and then subsequently in Hebburn. Charlotte joined the Skills Builder Partnership in 2018 as the Education Associate for the North East. 

“As an Education Associate, I regularly use the skill of Staying Positive. When supporting leaders in schools to implement and embed skills programmes, I need to identify risks and gains in opportunities. I then support leaders to see these opportunities, sometimes in quite challenging situations. Together we develop plans to manage the risks associated and make the most of potential things to gain.”

Meet Stephane, Product Coordinator

Stéphane’s career in education started in France in 2002 as an English teacher, where he developed a passion for project-based learning. His entrepreneurial skills as a self-employed French tutor as well as an International Business Executive for a stint, brought him to London where he decided to settle for the long run. After several years’ experience in the UK Primary sector, he is now part of the Product team and also supports our work with schools across the country.

“One skill I like to show at work is Problem Solving as I explore problems by thinking about the pros and cons of possible solutions. Sometimes it's about external support for our stakeholders as I regularly offer a range of options in technical assistance and troubleshooting on our digital resources, or sometimes it's internal support as I help out various teams where different tasks or projects might have conflicting deadlines, so I have to figure out ways of providing the right level of support to the right person at the right time.”

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